Jan. 21, 2012
AUBURN----Frankie Sullivan tied a season-high with 22 points and Kenny Gabrieladded 16 points, seven rebounds and four blocks to lead Auburn to a come-from-behind 63-52 victory over South Carolina in Auburn Arena on Saturday. The Tigers surpassed last year's win total with the victory.
Trailing 28-24 at the half, Auburn (12-7, 2-3) opened with a 31-10 run to take its largest lead of the game at 55-38 with 4:28 to play. The Tigers played tenacious defense and forced 23 Gamecock turnovers, 13 in the second half, and had a 14-0 advantage in points off turnovers at one point in the second half alone.
"I keep saying we're getting closer, and we are because it's finally starting to click that if you will guard with that sense of urgency, that sense of toughness on every possession, then no matter what you do offensively, you're going to give yourself a chance to win," said Auburn head coach Tony Barbee. "We are what we are offensively.
"We're going to go through droughts, and we're going to struggle to score. We only have two guys in double figures. From two of our other starters, we got one point combined. We are what we are, but if we will defend and guard and scrap and hustle with that sense of urgency, you're going to give yourself a chance in every single game."
Sullivan kept Auburn in it in the first half as he scored 14 of his points while the rest of the Tigers only had 10. Sullivan, which finished the game 6-of-15 from the floor, 4-of-11 from 3-point range and 6-of-6 from the foul line, was 5-of-7 from the floor and 4-of-6 from behind the arc in the opening period.
In the last three games, Sullivan is averaging 20.0 ppg while going 11-of-28 from 3-point range. He was averaging only 5.7 ppg and shooting 26 percent from the floor in the six games prior to his hot streak.
Auburn jumped out to a quick 8-2 lead but South Carolina (8-10, 0-4) later used an 8-0 run to take its largest lead of the game, 22-16, with 6:09 left.
Bruce Ellington and Anthony Gill led South Carolina with nine points each as no Gamecocks scored in double figures.
With many former Auburn players in attendance for lettermen's weekend including All-Americans Charles Barkley, John Mengelt and Lee DeFore, the Tigers used old school defense in limiting the Gamecocks to 40.8 percent shooting from the field and 6-of-18 shooting from 3-point range.
"Defense," said Sullivan. "Team defense. Everyone was in tune. I think that the players are coming around and see what Coach wants. He wants hard defense. That's what he wants every night, and I think we're showing that for him. It's showing on the scoreboard."
Varez Ward added eight points, three rebounds, two assists, two steals and a block for the Tigers while Chris Densonpitched in seven points. Auburn shot 44.0 percent for the game and was 7-of-18 (.389) from behind the arc. The Tigers committed only 14 turnovers, including just five in the second hhalf, to havea 28-=19 edge in points off turnovers.
Auburn begins a two-game road trip at Arkansas, a 66-64 winner over #19 Michigan, on Wednesday in Bud Walton Arena at 8 pm Central on CSS. The Tigers play at Tennessee on Saturday at 5 pm Central on